There’s unexpected similarities between the fictional fish-out-of-water manager and the legendary Old Big ‘Ead

Ted Lasso (Apple TV+) is a comedy series about the titular character, an American college (gridiron) football coach who’s brought in as the new manager of English Premier League (association) football team AFC Richmond. While it’s set in a football club, it’s not a sports comedy with football merely the milieu in which the characters exist. I watched it recently, based on how many positive comments I’d seen about it, really enjoyed it, and definitely recommend giving it a try. …


Sometimes, things just end. Here’s why I’m moving on from the party.

One last time for this image…

Just to be clear, the headline isn’t clickbait, I am no longer a member of the Liberal Democrats. This hasn’t been caused by the Chesham and Amersham by-election or any other recent developments— my membership expired back in April — but it feels like a good time to write about why.

If you’re here for a stream of denunciations as I work through a list of everyone in the party whoever wronged me, or a detailed explanation of why every part of the party is terrible, then I’m sorry but you’re in the wrong place. Yes, there are lots of…


Two lakes and four mountain tops in the Brecon Beacons (though none of them are called Black Mountain)

Fan Foel, Picws Du and Waun Lefrith over Llyr Y Fan Fach

There’s an image of walkers being lonely types, striding out alone across the countryside, standing alone on a hilltop as they take in the views around them. While a lot of walkers might be seeking that ideal, it’s not something you encounter too often as on all but the bleakest winter days you can be sure that several other people will have had a similar idea to you. Summits become social clubs, with everyone doing their best to stay out of everyone else’s lenses as they take their pictures that give the illusion they’re alone up there. …


Electoral pacts shouldn’t be the sole focus of a progressive alliance

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

It’s all very simple, really. By the time the next election comes around in 2023 or 2024, a range of parties will have agreed to bury years worth of grudges and disagreements to agree an electoral alliance. That alliance will ensure that only a single candidate stands against the Tories in each constituency, they’ll all romp to victory on the united votes of the progressive majority of voters, and we’ll have a new government that will be able to pass the Make The Bad Things Stop Bill in its first few days in office.

It’s a simple vision, and one…


This new series is bold with some big ideas, but lacks focus and space for the characters to breathe

When I first read the plot description for Sky’s new SF series Intergalactic, it sounded a bit familiar. On a repressed and dystopian future Earth, someone is framed for a crime and sentenced to an off-world prison. However, en route to prison, they end up working with a group of actual criminals who have stolen a ship and then have to work together to stay out of the clutches of the authorities on Earth. It read very much like it was a remake of Blake’s 7, but with a cast that was much more female and diverse.

Intergalactic’s central character…


Pandemics, timequakes, free will, and what comes next

Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut’s final novel, is a tricky beast. His work had always trampled over the borders between fiction and non-fiction (“That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.”) and Timequake lives almost solely in those borderlands. It’s a combination of the shattered remnants of his first attempt to write the book and Vonnegut’s musings on the problems of writing, his life, his family and other matters. …


A walk into the countryside with big skies and mythical beasts

The Bures Dragon

It’s hard to tell the age of a dragon, but we know the one you can see in the Essex/Suffolk border village of Bures is somewhere between nine and six hundred years old. There are plenty of ways to get to Bures to see it, and here’s one route you can take to walk there from central Colchester.

This route is about twelve miles long and mostly on countryside paths and rights of way, though with some sections on roads. It starts from High Woods Country Park just outside the centre of Colchester and finishes at St Stephen’s Chapel just…


A century on, the party again faces the same questions about its role that the Liberals failed to answer


The fist book I finished in 2021 was Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling’s A Libertarian Walks Into A Bear. It’s an account of two seemingly disparate issues — the dream of the Free Town Project to turn one town into a libertarian utopia and the management and control of the bear population of New Hampshire — and how they both came together in Grafton, New Hampshire.

The Free Town Project spun off from the much more ambitious Free State Project, but had the same aim: move enough libertarians to an area to create a voting bloc that would be large enough to dismantle…


When he takes office on January 20th, Joe Biden will become the oldest ever US President. And, assuming Donald Trump doesn’t rage quit the Oval Office before then, it’ll also mark the second time in a row a US President has handed over to a successor who’s older than them after Trump replaced the younger Obama in 2017.

That got me wondering about how different Presidents and their successors have been in age over the years. Because time remains stubbornly linear, and no one has yet lived to be the 289 years old they’d need to be older than George…

Nick Barlow

Many, many things. PhD student at QMUL. Former politician. Ran the 2019 London Marathon for Brain Research UK. @nickjbarlow on Twitter.

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